A Little Light

How much difference can you make in creating the reality of a peaceful universal existence? How much impact can any of us have in attaining such a seemingly unreachable goal?

My mother was born in Alabama just before the Great Depression. She was the epitome of Southern graciousness and self discipline. She stood 4'11" and always added the ½" when asked her height. A deeply spiritual woman, she dressed all six of her children and drove them to church so frequently it became a part of the lasting memories of who she was in our neighborhood.

She chose a career in journalism; a tough, hard-nosed business mostly dominated by men at that time.

Soon she worked her way up to the Assistant Editor position of a major newspaper; she quickly tired of the desk work and asked to be reassigned 'out with the people.' They gave her the 'Police Beat,' a challenging position in a city as large as Cincinnati, Ohio

The new position led her to the seediest parts of the big city; particularly to an area called 'Over the Rhine,' where much of the crime occurred. It was a tough area that boasted of gang activity including drugs and all the violence that accompanies that kind of environment.

Many apartments did not even have doors; it was a poor and many times a hopeless place that most people in the city avoided. We were afraid for our little mother to go there and questioned the wisdom of this frequently.

Soon she began assuaging our fears by telling us that she was comfortable there, the people treated her well. She walked into their homes, oblivious of the missing doors; bringing coffee for her and those she was interviewing and ignored everything but the people.

She spoke not of what was different about them, but what was the same. The mothers were all afraid for their children; they lived in crushing poverty that all wished to escape. The mothers of the gang members were all worried about their children, fearing they would be shot and killed or die of a drug overdose. Her list went on and on... people are the same everywhere.

She interviewed the people without judgment, sharing the concerns of every parent and child. Soon the gang members began meeting her car at the curb to accompany her to the appointment; helping to carry her infamous coffee cups and assuring her the word was on the street, "she was not to be touched." And she never was.

The people trusted her; she became their voice that demanded to be heard. And it was; accurately, honestly and without prejudgment.

She shared these lessons with us, demanding we never forget the most important things she had learned there.

"People all over the universe, regardless of race, creed or nationality are essentially the same. They all want a life free of strife and struggle, a safe home and community for their family to grow and develop in, enough food to feed their family, security, a good education for their children, an opportunity to better themselves, the right to worship their Creator in the manner their own culture dictates, and to be treated with respect; to maintain their dignity and self respect. Everything else falls into personal desires, hopes or dreams which can all be different."

The older I get the more I realize she was spot on in her analysis; people are the same everywhere.

Our attention is riveted to the differences; to the violence, the differences in religious practices, the difference in culture and how we all live and the difference in income.

What could happen if each of us became a little light in a dark place? I suspect the world could be a far better place if we took the time to focus on the things we all share, the things we have in common.

Is it possible that this could be the first step towards real peace universally; respecting what we all have in common? Imagine a world where more than 7 billion tiny lights suddenly flickered to life and began to shine at once!


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